Finding Focus in the Startup Chaos: The Power of Strategy for Tech Startups

Continuing the conversation from last time, talking about the big picture and how having a clear strategy can help guide our startup in the right direction.

And last time we were talking about how difficult it is to say no to opportunities, no to tasks that will probaby lead to nothing.

It’s better to do less and have more focus

The reality is, often it’s probably better to just do less. Have less tasks on the agenda, and make sure the tasks that we are doing, the steps that we are taking, are the right tasks, the right steps that guide us in the right directon.

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I chatted with a friend of mine a while ago, who said a founder should take at least one day off each week. Just relax, think about strategy, and do nothing all day. Block off, say, Friday.

That means you’re not available for calls, not available to your team. Just sitting in a chair, bouncing a ball off the wall, thinking about the steps your company’s taking, the tasks you’re performing, whether they’re moving the business in the right direction or not.

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But here’s the reality – we rarely get a full day to just relax in the office, throwing a ball at the wall and thinking. There’s this pressure, you know, to succeed. So obviously, you are willing to do anything it takes, and if that means burning out in the process, so be it.

I think most founders don’t realize that taking a step back, relaxing, and thinking about strategy would actually yield better progress and make them feel better about their work.

What if I can’t take a step back?

So here’s my suggestion. Get a sparring partner. Join a community of founders or hire a consultant who’ll help you keep the big picture in mind. Someone you trust, someone whose way of thinking you like. Have a weekly call with them, to help you think about the big picture because when you’re in the thick of it, it’s tough to see it yourself.

When I was working on my strategy last December, I hired a consultant. He helped me make the strategy, and now we hold each other accountable in weekly meetings. This way, I know my strategy’s working because I have someone to give me feedback, to tell me if, for example, I should be getting more leads through LinkedIn by now, or making more money from my deals.

Clear strategy results in focus

If you’re hands-on with your project, which is often the case when you’re in the chaotic stage of building a startup, it can be hard to step back. But you can get help, like hiring a strategy consultant and just think about whether all the actions that you’re doing are leading the company in the right direction. There might be things you’re not doing that you should be, or tasks you’re avoiding.

Take, for instance, a recent call I had with a client. We were on a typical Zoom call that resulted from a LinkedIn message. I pitched him my services, explaining that we could conduct a positioning workshop with his team. We’d figure out who their ideal clients were, identify their needs and desires, and map out their pain points.

We’d then brainstorm on how their product could address these challenges and benefit their clients. Plus, we’d check the competition, figuring out ways to stand out. All of this would result in a marketing plan, a strategy, and the development plan, and all that.

And he said: “Look, I don’t need a workshop. I just need someone to sit with me for an hour on a call and help me think through this stuff because I can’t do it myself. If I don’t schedule an hour, that time gets taken away by hands-on tasks Iā€™m doing. And even if I set aside that time, I can’t do it alone. So could you just help me think?”

So, if you can’t afford to take a few hours away from the business, just get a consultant or get a friend who knows something about business. Schedule that weekly call and talk to them about your strategy and positioning – all the things you can’t do yourself because you’re so hands-on in the project.

Need my help? Jump on a call with me: Pick my brain

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